WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today voted for H.R. 4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act — legislation that would be a first step in strengthening the vetting system for Syrian and Iraqi refugees being admitted to the United States.

“The first responsibility of the federal government is to secure the homeland and keep the American people safe.  And with the recent horrific terrorist attacks in Paris and growing threats against American cities like New York and Washington, D.C., it is now more critical than ever that the United States Congress act immediately to suspend the President’s refugee resettlement program until an effective vetting and monitoring process is in place that ensures the safety of the American people,” said Lance.

H.R. 4038 — passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 287 to 147 — sets in place new standards for vetting Syrian or Iraqi refugees:

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Certification: Iraq and Syria refugees only admitted if Nation’s top security officials — Secretary of the Homeland Security,  FBI Director and Director of National Intelligence — certifies to Congress that each refugee is not a security threat with monthly reporting to all 12 congressional committees.

Background Investigation: FBI Director administers thorough background investigations. Refugee not admitted until Director certifies that individual received a background investigation that is sufficient to determine if refugee is not a security threat to the United States.

IG Review Certification: DHS Inspector General shall conduct a risk based review of all certifications and provide an annual report detailing its findings to the appropriate committees.                      

Lance’s vote today comes on the heels of his call to President Obama earlier in the week to halt immediately admissions of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the United States until a more comprehensive strategy to address the Syrian refugee crisis and defeat ISIS is developed.  The 7th District lawmaker is a cosponsor of two measures (H.R. 3314 and H.R. 3573) that would halt all of the President’s refugee resettlement plans pending a comprehensive review by the Governmental Accountability Office of the program’s costs and effectiveness of its screening, monitoring and security procedures.  And Lance also signed a letter to House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) requesting that the year-end spending bill feature language to defund refugee resettlement.

“The threat of ISIS is not contained as the President has suggested.  It is not going away.  So until there is a certification process in place to prevent terrorist threats in America, the Syrian and Iraqi resettlement program should be paused,” concluded Lance.